Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon,” because if you do, your motives and loyalties will be divided. You will be torn between 1) following the divine will and 2) acquiring money, wealth, worldly possessions, “stuff.” I write in detail about “Market Fundamentalism: The Religion of Mammon” in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell.
The desire to acquire and consume, which is so pervasive in our consumer culture, is especially strong during the holidays. The lure of buying “stuff” becomes almost irresistible, tied up as it is with wanting to show loved ones how precious they are. Global corporations create hype around their Black Friday and now Black Thursday sales, so that people can desperately rush out and buy their products. It is a form of cultural possession, a group insanity that leaves many feeling drained, depressed, and over-extended by the end of the season.
The focus on consumption during this season also leaves many people starkly aware of how little they have. These numbers are growing as the rich become richer, the poor become poorer, and the middle class fades away. Meanwhile, our precious mother earth suffers as the gifts of creation are turned into yet more “stuff.” If you want some incentive to help you resist the avarice of the season, go to The Story of Stuff and watch their 20-minute film by that title or some of their other resources. I’ll be mentioning other resources in the coming weeks.
Cultivating gratitude is one form of resistance to the god of Mammon. Gratitude is an antidote to avarice. There is no room for greed or desperate seeking after stuff when acknowledging the gifts of creation, the gifts of relationship, the gift of awareness of the God of Love.
I close this blog with a Thanksgiving poem written by my husband and love, Guari:
We are grateful for what and who we are on this wondrous round earth.
We are grateful for the opportunity to be human and have part in creation,
and for the little things we might not see which make life possible,
for each loving, kind and compassionate person we meet,
for everyone giving thanks to Creator in their own way.
We thank Creator for children, parents, families, friends and companions,
for ancestors and descendants, the past and the future and all the relations.
We thank you great mystery for light and love awakened and anointed.
We thank you, Beloved, for blessings on this journey
and a sense of your perfecting love guiding the way.
You can find more of Guari’s poems at his Mostly Poetry blog.